Local News

UNC football players describe alleged assault

Posted November 17, 2008 1:40 p.m. EST
Updated November 17, 2008 6:33 p.m. EST

— Three University of North Carolina football players testified Monday that they were tied up in their apartment and robbed last year, and one said a woman fondled him during the incident.

The testimony came during the trial of Michael Troy Lewis, 33, of Durham, who is charged with three counts of attempted felony larceny, two counts of first-degree kidnapping and one count each of criminal conspiracy, robbery with a dangerous weapon and assault on a government official in the Dec. 16, 2007, incident.

The defense didn't call any witnesses in the trial, and closing arguments are expected to be made Tuesday.

Offensive lineman Aaron Stahl said the night of the alleged assault began as a celebration of a teammate's 21st birthday.

"We went uptown to the bars," Stahl said. "It was one of the most drunk times I've ever had in my life."

When he got separated from his friends, he said he met Lewis and two women. Lost, drunk and out of cash, Stahl says he asked the three for a ride.

"Somewhere along the ride home, I kind of faded out," he testified. "When I came to, I was bound in my chair in my underwear."

A second player said he found Lewis standing naked in the apartment hallway when he returned home later that night. Lewis beckoned him back to Stahl's room, where the women lured him into bed, he said.

Then, he and Stahl were tied up with belts, ties and stereo speaker wire and were blindfolded, and the player said one of the women fondled him.

"She ripped my belt off and started trying to tie my hands," the player said. "They tied up my legs with a shoelace."

WRAL News doesn't identify sexual assault victims.

Lewis was stealing electronics and other items from the apartment while the women kept the players occupied, the player said. When the player tried to resist, Lewis held a knife to his throat and threatened him, he said.

"He came running in and stuck the knife to my throat," the player told jurors. "He said, 'You don't want your mother to go to your funeral do you? Because I'm going to kill you.'

"I was scared for my life."

Defense attorney Russell Hollers told jurors last week that Stahl wanted to pay the women for sex and that any sexual contact that night was consensual.

A third player, offensive lineman Lowell Dyer, testified that he went to bed upon returning home from the bar. He said he was awakened by the commotion and was able to call 911 before being tied up.

Three Chapel Hill police officers testified last week that one of the players called 911 to report the robbery and that they found the players tied up when they arrived at the apartment. The players were trying to get the women to leave, the officers said.

Monique Jenice Taylor, 29, is charged with one count each of criminal conspiracy, first-degree kidnapping, first-degree sexual offense and resisting a public officer in the case. She will be tried separately.

Tnikia Monta Washington, 30, is charged with resisting a public officer in the case.